Guest Column: Gotta Love the Ranch

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Gotta Love The Ranch

By Denny Freidenrich

I love The Ranch. It’s sorta/kinda like being at Cheers and Augusta National all rolled into one.

During the summer months, I’m usually at The Ranch once a week either playing golf or just listening to music on the patio. Having first moved to Laguna 50 years ago next year, my favorite place in town used to be the beach. Nowadays, it’s on a fairway or simply watching foursomes tee off after 4 p.m.

Growing up in Palo Alto, sports always came naturally to me. My parents used to say I could swim before I could walk. Maybe that’s why I taught myself to surf when I was 13 or ended up playing water polo at USC five years later. Today, at 70, I don’t do either any longer. What I do play is golf.

(L-R) Denny Freidenrich about to tee off at The Ranch with sons Spencer and Tyler.

Everything I do on the course now is what I learned the last time I had a lesson (when I was 12). Thankfully, The Ranch is only 9 holes. It typically takes 2 hours to play. Sometimes I count my strokes and other times I don’t. All I know is I usually hit enough good shots each round to want to play again the following week or so.

The same is true on the patio. The staff is friendly, the music is great, and the food is tasty. Taco Tuesdays and Tri-Tip Thursdays are among my favorites. While I haven’t tried Martini Mondays and Whiskey Wednesdays, I hear they’re popular as well.

But more than the food and adult beverages, I really enjoy the people who drop in like I do. From the millennial moms and dads with young children, to the grandparents celebrating half a century together, there always is something for everyone at The Ranch.

Just last week, I watched a future groom propose to his bride-to-be on the 9th fairway. I thought he would wait until they were on the putting green below us, but no. With about 50 yards to go, he dropped to one knee and popped the question. When she jumped into his arms, everyone on the patio, whether they knew each other or not, began shouting and applauding. Yes, it really is that kind of place.

It’s hard for me to imagine, but if you live in Laguna and haven’t been to The Ranch yet…you need to go. Trust me, on any given day or night, you are bound to run into someone you know.

The Ranch is a true touchstone for me now. I hope it will become one of yours soon.

Denny Freidenrich lives in Laguna Beach. He is the author of more than 1,300 letters to the editor and commentaries published coast to coast.

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